Picture It, Dads! Book Favourites for Preschoolers
Listed below are some favorites books for preschoolers. All of these books are excellent read-aloud choices for 4-6 year olds. After each title, there is a brief summary and recommended age level for which each book is best-suited.
Chair for My Mother
by Vera B. Williams
Caldecott Honor book. This is a warm, simple, engagingly illustrated story about a family with strong bonds. A fire destroys their old furniture, and three generations come together --a child, her mother, and her grandmother) to save their money in order to buy a new easy chair. Best for ages 4-6. (HarperTrophy)
A Hat for Minerva Louise
by Janey Morgan Stoeke
A hen feels cold, but she wants to stay outside in the snow, so she goes searching for warm things. Some of the things she finds are ridiculous (a garden hose, a pot), and even the warm things are funny --mittens on her head and tail...Fun story to read aloud. For 3-6s.
A-Hunting We Will Go! (song story)
by Steven Kellogg
Harper Trophy, 2001.
A lively, funny song-story with amusing, detailed pictures to read and/or sing aloud. A sister and brother try to put off going to bed by singing a song that takes them on an imaginary trip. They meet a moose and a goose on the loose, a weasel at an easel, and finally-- after hugs and kisses-- it's off to sleep they go! Fine for 3-6's.
All By Myself
by Mercer Mayer
Most of the "little critter" books are very popular with preschool children. This one is a favorite. In it, the hero learns how to do things like get dressed, brush his teeth, etc. all by himself. Very good for ages 2-3.
All the Colors of the Earth
by Sheila Hamanaka
wonderful book about diversity. Vocabulary is a little advanced, but the books
work well with 5-6 year olds.
Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing
by Judi Barrett
A 5-star special loved by preschool children and their teachers alike.
A laugh-aloud, never-dull book that will be requested over and over again. Best for ages 4-6.
by Jules Feiffer
Harper Children's/Laura Geringer
A hysterical, well-written, well-illustrated book by the famous satirist.
George, who is a dog, meows! Then he quacks, oinks, and moos. His annoyed and anxious mother takes him to the vet, and guess what? The vet pulls a cat, a duck, a pig and a cow out of George! Now he can bark, but will he? Readers and children alike will laugh out loud at this highly entertaining book. For 3-6 year olds.
by Sandra Boynton
If you want a great read-aloud for the 2-3 year old set, get this strongly rhythmical, rhyming book with its nutty farm animals whose robust dancing is rudely interrupted by messy monsters. Don't worry: the mess gets fixed. A great book that really illustrates the powerful effects of language. Best for 2-4's. (Workman Pub. Co.)
Big Bad Wolf Is Good
by Simon Puttock
The big bad wolf has a bad reputation, so no one will be his friend. The wolf then decides to be useful and good, but Mrs. Chicken refuses to let him babysit, because she's afraid he'll eat the little chicks all up. Finally, after he tries to save a baby duck, Mrs. Duck takes a chance on him and invites him to come in for tea. The illustrations of a sad-faced, teary-eyed wolff are quite a change from the usual mean, threatening wolves in storyland. The story also gives a reader a chance to explain that real wolves aren't evil animals at all. Best for 4's - 6's.
Black on White
by Tana Hoban
This book is part of a series of wordless picture books that will help children to identify the connections between what they see and what people say (i.e. things and words that name them). Others in this series are also excellent. Best for ages 0-3. (Greenwillow Pub.)
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
by Bill Martin,Jr.
Henry Holt Publishers 1983
The first in a series of similar books and probably, the best one. A tender rhyming book with beautiful illustrations. Each page features a new animal that sees another one, thus wanting us to turn the page and see it too. Preschoolers will love repeating the rhythmic question on each page. A favorite with children 2-4. Others in this series, which children also enjoy, are "Polar Bear Polar Bear what Do You Hear?" and "Panda Bear Panda Bear What Do You See?" The latter features endangered animals, so it has an added little "extra" to it.
Can't you Sleep, Little Bear?
by Martin Waddell
A tender tale about a little bear who is afraid of the dark and about the big bear who comforts him. First, the big bear brings in lights, and then the two step outside and see the stars at night. A reassuring book for little ones and a good story to quiet children down, this book feels similar in its tone and style to "Goodnight Moon." For 2-4 year olds.
Caps for Sale
by Esphyr Slobodkina
A classic and well-respected tale about a peddler with stacks of caps to sell and funny things that occur as he tries to sell them. See what happens when he takes a nap under a tree full of monkeys! This book may be too long for the younger preschool child, but 5 year olds enjoy it. Try it with a group of older 4's - 6's.
Charlie Parker Played Be Bop
by Chris Raschka
This book is an outstanding, snappy read-aloud for 3-5 year olds filled with rhythm and jazz and simple (but highly energetic) text and drawings. There are nonsense sounds and real sounds that you and the kids can repeat and share; and as a bonus, the book is a great introduction to the great Charlie Parker, to jazz and to a couple of musical instruments.
by Howie Schneider
Chewy Louie is a silly puppy who eats everything--and we do mean everything--in sight. Did he even eat a piece of the front cover of this book? An exciting story with fun-filled illustrations. For children 3-6.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
by Bill Martin, Jr.
Aladdin Picture Books
A wonderfully funny, rhythmical (and suspenseful) alphabet book about adventurous letters climbing a coconut tree. It's such fun for the children to repeat the refrain, "chicka-chicka-boom-boom," as the letters tumble down, scramble up, etc. The illustrations are exciting and colorful. A great read-aloud book for children 3-6.
Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type
by Doreen Cronin
Simon & Schuster Children's Books
The idea is hilarious! Some cows in a barn are too cold. They find a typewriter and type a letter to the farmer asking him for electric blankets. The farmer ignores their letter, so they go on strike. Then they type and post a sign that says "No milk today." In the end, the strike gets resolved with the help of a duck and some open discussion. A non-preachy, lighthearted story with a valuable lesson about using words to work out problems. Best for 4-6's.
Clifford the Big Red Dog
by Norman Bridwell
The first in a series of many books about Clifford, a red dog that is bigger than a house, and a little girl named Emily Elizabeth. The very idea of so huge a dog is exciting to pre-K children, and they sit spellbound as Clifford, who doesn't quite understand just how big he is, causes all sorts of mayhem. Some of the Clifford books are a lot less engaging than this one; but this one is always a hit! Fine for children 2-6.
by Bernard Most
Harcourt Brace Red Wagon Books
A rooster loses his voice and can't wake up the farm. The cow tries to help but can't say, "cock-a-doodle-doo!" After the cow tries "sock-a-noodle-noo" and other laughable variations, she manages a "cock-a-doodle-moo," and everyone finally wakes up. Pre-K kids love the funny words and the cartoon drawings. A joyful read-aloud for children 2-4.
by Taro Gomi
Picture Puffins - Publisher
A little girl can't afford to buy Corduroy, a lonely toy bear. But Corduroy thinks he's not adoptable because he's not perfect. (He's missing a button from the strap of his overalls.) After the store closes, Corduroy gets down off the shelf and looks for the button all over the store. He has a great adventure, but he ends up back on the shelf, sadder than ever, and still with no button. The next day, the little girl returns with money and buys the little bear. She doesn't care if he isn't perfect. She loves him anyway. To make him feel better, though, she takes him home and sews on a button. "You must be a friend," the little bear says. "I've always wanted a friend." A beautiful story, beautifully told. Best for children 3-6.
Dancing in My Bones
by Sylvia Andrews
An engaging, rhyming book that can be sung to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands." The little ones will enjoy
"reading" or "singing" this book along with you, and they'll like the appealing drawings too. Very good for 2-3 year olds.
by Byron Barton
Harper Festival (HarperCollins)
A delightful introduction to dinosaurs of various types, shapes and sizes.
The words in the text are fine for younger preschoolers, and there are actual dinosaurs' names in the back of the book for older pre-schoolers. This book is also a conversation-starter. Children can learn that dinosaurs lived a long time ago and shouldn't be feared. A great book for children 3-6.
Don't Eat the Teacher!
by Nick Ward
Sammy the shark is always biting. He eats his school friend, then spits him out. He eats an activity book. He eats his artwork. He even eats the teacher ( a lobster). A silly book with funny pictures. No seriousness at all. For ages 3-6.
by Jill Newsome
Little Lily dances all the time and everywhere-- when she's awake and in her dreams. Then she breaks her leg and despairs until her grandmother gives her a small ballerina doll. Is it Lily or is it her doll who perseveres and dances the way back to health? An intelligent story about hope and the human spirit. Best for 4-6's.
Duck on a Bike
by David Shannon
A duck thinks out of the box, and he decides to ride a bike. The other farm animals tell him he is wacky, that he'll get hurt, that it's not what dignified animals do, etc. etc. But in the end, the duck's crazy idea doesn't seem so crazy any more. A clever book about the importance of individuality and creativity, even when others may not understand it. Fun-filled illustrations. Best for ages 3-6.
Feast for Ten
by Catherine Falwell
Clarion Books. An appealing counting and sharing book that children love to "read" with you. Diversity of characters and family love add to this rich mix.
Feathers for Lunch
by Lois Ehlert
Twelve well-known, colorfully and accurately depicted birds and a pet cat go on a non-threatening chase ("...cats / can't fly / and they / can't soar; / and birds / know what / their wings are for." )This 5-star book has the added attraction of being a very good introductory nature guide. Ages 3-6.
by Ruth Galloway
A colorfully illustrated adventure story about a little fish with BIG energy!
He fidgets endlessly, which kids completely understand...and they enjoy learning the word "fidgety" too. A fun read-aloud for 3-6's.
Fish Eyes: A Counting Book
by Lois Ehlert
An imaginative counting book featuring flashy fish floating by. This book can also be used to teach colors and shapes, and it contains some snappy adjectives. Best for ages 1-3.
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
by Eileen Christelow
Houghton Mifflin (Clarion Books)
Mischief and merry-making by five goofy monkeys who all fall off the bed, of course, despite being told repeatedly, "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!" The kids love to wag their index finger back and forth and repeat this refrain, which makes this an engaging read-aloud counting book. Fun and popular with ages 3-6.
by Richard Egiellski
A Laura Geringer Book (HarperCollins)
Chased through New York City by famished residents, this delicious cookieboy meets his inevitable end in Central Park. A crictically acclaimed, modern retelling of an old classic. Best for older 4's -6's.
Give the Dog a Bone (song story)
by Steven Kellogg
Chronicle Books 2004
About 250 kinds of dogs, some likable kids and a few kooky old men give new life to an old counting rhyme that you and the children can say or sing. Everyone-- from human to critter-- has something silly to say or do. Vivacious and terrific read-aloud fun. For 3-6 year olds.
Go Away, Big Green Monster!
by Ed Emberly
A little hard to find but well worth the trouble! Use the hardcover edition as your read-aloud. Children will cheer after you read this "scary" story about a big green monster, whose features appear and then disappear with each turn of a cut-out page: first, you see the eyes, then the nose, then the ears, the purple squiggly hair and last, the green face. After that, you shout, "Go away Big Green Monster!" and one by one, the same features vanish in reverse order. The kids get to tell the monster not to come unless they say so! The pictures are bold and captivating, and they'll want this one again and again. Ages 4-6.
Go Dog, Go!
by P.D. Eastman
Random House Books
A simply lovable love story that will make kids roar with laughter-- with simple words that kids will naturally connect with the engaging pictures.
A favorite for over 40 years.
Good Night, Owl
by Pat Hutchins
A very sleepy owl just can't get any rest. He tries, but every time he almost falls asleep, some other animal lands in his tree and makes a racket. The Owl has finally has enough, and he gets the last screech! A good read-aloud book with snappy descriptions of animal sounds and a guaranteed laugh at the end. Ages 2-6. (Aladdin Books)
by Margaret Wise Brown
Harper Children's Books
What can anyone say about this perfect book except that it is perfect?
No child should miss this timeless classic. A bedtime or quiet time book for babies and children to age 4.
Green Eggs and Ham
by Dr. Seuss
If you read this book quickly and use different voices for the speaking parts of Sam-I-Am and his tormentor, the kids will hang on your every word. A playful classic about a stubborn and very picky eater, who finally agrees to try green eggs and ham--if only to get rid of that pesky Sam. Best for 4-6's.
Gregory the Terrible Eater
by Mitchell Sharmat
What would worry goat parents more than a goat child that won't eat goat foods?
Instead of shoes, ties, violins and tin cans, Gregory wants eggs and orange juice. What is a good doat parent to do? A funny book that can spark great discussions about food that's good for us and junk food... Ages 3-6. (Scholastic Pub.)
Growing Vegetable Soup
by Lois Ehlert
"The best soup ever" is in the best how-to introduction to using garden veggies. From the planting of the seed to the picking of the plant to the preparation of the veggie to the putting in the pot--this is the complete picture! And speaking of pictures, what vivid, gorgeous illustrations--almost good enough to eat! For 3-6's,
Guess How Much I Love You
by Sam McBratney
A sweet story about a nutbrown bunny and his daddy. The little one tries to put off going to bed by coming up with all kinds of ways he loves his dad (example: "I love you as high as I can hop!"), but his dad comes up with even better comparisons than he does. Soft and lovely illustrations. A good "quiet-down" book to read aloud. For 1-3's.
Harold and the Purple Crayon
by Crockett Johnson
Harper Trophy 1981
A little boy walks and draws his way through the moonlight with a purple crayon and a big imagination. The drawings are very simple and spare, but this classic story is full of tenderness and feeling. Best for 5-6 year olds.
Harry the Dirty Dog
by Gene Zion
Harry is a white dog with brown spots, and he detests baths. To avoid one, he runs away and gets into mischief and dirt, which turns him into a brown dog with white spots. When he goes home, his family doesn't know who he is! In desperation, he dashes into the house, jumps into the bathtub begging for a bath, and tadah! He becomes---a white dog with brown spots!
A page-turning, funny, lovable read-aloud for preschoolers, ages 3-6.
Here Come the Tickle Bugs!
by Uncle Sillyhead III
With the refrain, "Here come the tickle bugs," this perfectly foolish book makes kids giggle when they hear it. Full of differently-colored silly bugs, this silly book is great fun for preschoolers, who really love to hear and see it over and over again!
Hi Pizza Man!
by Virginia Walter
A yummy book in which Mom distracts a hungry child by using animal sounds as potential greetings for the pizza delivery person that is anticipated. A very clever book that works wonderfully for children 2-4 years old.
Home for a Bunny
by Margaret Wise Brown
An oldie but goodie. A little bunny looks high and low for a home. Sometimes, the place is inaccessible (a nest in a tree full of baby birds).
Sometimes, the current occupant won't share (the groundhog, for instance). But finally, the bunny meets another bunny who invites him to share a home under a stone. Lovely illustrations with lots of opportunity to point out details. May be a little too long for those under 4.
Honey I Love
by Greenfield, Eloise
A highly appealing rhyming book about childhood pleasures and delightful illustrations of the happy African-American child who experiences them. This positive, beautiful book is a wonderful read-aloud for children ages 3-5.
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
by Jane Yolen
This wonderfully written and illustrated book is the first and best in a series of books that use dinosaurs to teach good behavior and coping skills. Jane Yolen is an award-winning author who teaches children with laughter. She likes to use playful and engaging questions and rhyming answers: "How does a dinosaur say good night when Papa comes in to turn off the light? Does a dinosaur slam his tail and pout? Does he throw his teddy bear all about? Does a dinosaur stomp his feet on the floor and shout: 'I want to hear one book more!'? DOES A DINOSAUR ROAR?" (Of course, we all know the answer!) A fun-filled, meaningful book for 3-6 year olds.
I Love you Stinky Face
by Lisa McCourt
In this book and its companion, "I Miss You Stinky Face," children find
a feeling of safeness. This highly recommended book is all about a mother's unconditional love. The questions go like this one: "But Mama, but Mama, what if I were a super smelly skunk, and I smelled so bad that my name was Stinky Face?" You know the answer... For children 2-6.
by Kate & Jim McMullan
Joanna Cotler Publishers 2002
Kids are crazy about this strange garbage truck with its big mouth and its gross appetite for stinky stuff. How can anyone resist? Incidentally, they'll learn to appreciate what garbage trucks do for us, but most of all they'll get a kick out of copying this brash truck as it burps and growls its way through its rounds. Just fine for 3-6's.
I Was So Mad
by Mercer Mayer
The whole series of "little critter" books is enjoyed by preschool children.
In this book, they can easily relate to a little guy, who isn't allowed to do some things he would like very much to do--like tickling the goldfish. Whenever he is told no, he feels "so mad." In the end, however, he does get to do what he likes best: play with his friends. The very expressive faces of the charatcers in this series are especially appealing to young children.
I'm Gonna Like Me: letting off a little self-esteem
by Jamie Lee Curtis
What makes this book real fun is the illustrations, which are sure to make children giggle. What makes the book worthy is the self-acceptance message that it conveys. Some of the text is probably above most preschool children, and this book is a bit long too; so we suggest it for older 4's and 5's.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
by Laura Numeroff
Laura Geringer Books
This is the first in a series of comical misadventures and tongue-in-cheek lessons about cause and effect. All of the books in this series feature a boy who get into hysterical situations that lead to other hysterical situations. He learns that taking care of the demands of a needy animal can be quite exhausting! A terrific preschool read-aloud for ages 3-6.
Is Your Mama a Llama?
by Deborah Guarino
Preschoolers learn some interesting facts about animals from this delightfully illustrated book, award-winning book with its simple questions and rhyming answers. This is a good interactive book to read aloud. because the children can guess the names of animals, which are the last words of the answers to riddles. For children ages 3-6.
It Looked Like Spilt Milk
by Charles G. Shaw
Harper Trophy Publishing
An delightful book that engages children in an imaginative guessing game. A white object changes its shape on every page. And on every page, that shape looks like something familiar, but it's not that thing at all. Not until the end do we learn what it actually is! A perfect book for children 3-6.
It's the Bear
by Jez Arborough
This is one of those scary-yet-silly rhyming books that preschool children so enjoy. A bear smells the food at a picnic of a child and his mother. The child hides inside the picnic basket, but his oblivious mom doesn't notice the bear-- until he snitches the pie. In the end, the bear runs one way and the people run the other way. The illustration at the end will make everyone laugh.
Kitten's First Full Moon
by Kevin Henkes
Winner of the Caldecott Medal, this lovely book tells the story of a persistent little kitten, who thinks the moon is a bowl of milk and futilely tries all sorts of ways to get that milk. In the end, she learns there's no place like home to fulfill her heart's desire. The text and drawings are simple and engaging, and they will catch and hold the attention of children ages 2-6. Kids will want this one read again and again.
by Lois Ehlert
(Harcourt) This books traces the possible journeys of a Leaf Man who blew away--where to? This is the trail we follow. On each page, brightly colored leaves in the shapes of animals and other objects fly wherever the Lead Man must blow. The book not only encourages small children to think about ways to arrange leaves they mioght collect in fall, but the endpapers name various kinds of leaves for children who may be interested. A spectacular nature book. Ages 3-6.
Leo the Late Bloomer
by Robert Kraus
Poor little Leo the Lion just can't do anything right. He can't read or write, and he's a messy eater. This worries Leon and his watchful father, but not his mother. She urges patience, and in due time, Leo blooms! Captivating, expressive characters, a little suspense and a happy ending please everyone. A fine read-aloud for 2-6year olds.
by Nicola Moon
A sensitive and beautifully made book about individuality, creativity, beauty, giving and love. Lucy's grandfather is blind, and Lucy wants to make him a picture he can "see" with his hands. So while her classmates are painting pictures, Lucy's teacher encourages her to follow her own muse. By pasting objects with different textures onto a paper, Lucy makes a collage that her grandfather enjoys. For children 3-6.
McDuff Comes Home
by Rosemary Wells
This books is part of a series about the adventures of McDuff, a cute little terrier. In this book, he runs after a rabbit and gets lost in the process. Luckily, a motherly lady with a motocycle stricks him in her side car and takes him back home. The story and vivid illustrations delight preschool children, and McDuff is a very appealing character.
For ages 3-5.
Mice Squeak, We Speak
by Tomie dePaola
A simple, clever, highly-praised rhyming book featuring the sounds that animals make and what we do differently (speak!). Colorful, full-page, carefully considered illustrations and text. A great read-aloud book that will hold the attention of children from 1-4.
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
by Virginia Lee Burton
Houghton Mifflin 1939
This classic story teaches children that where there's a will, there's away. Mike Mulligan (and his steam shovel, Mary Anne) have made tunnels through mountains, giant holes in which tall buildings sit, and canals for boats; but now, there is electricity and gasoline, so no one seems to want to dig things with a steam shovel. Mike and Mary Ann decide to make a change and go to a small town, where they get a job digging a cellar for a new building. But they will only get paid if they can do it in one day, and the whole town is watching. Best for children 4-5 years old.
Mirandy and Brother Wind
by Pat McKissack
A gorgeously illustrated, award-winning story about a kind little girl and her clumsy friend, who want to win a dance contest. Mirandy's kindness to her friend helps her triumph, because she is able to capture Brother Wind, who helps them dance beautifully together. Best for ages 4-5.
by Ellen Stoll Walsh
What she did for colors in Mouse Paint, the author now does for numbers. An exciting story about a blue snake who captures ten tiny mice, some while they're sleeping, one while it's hiding. He sticks them in a jar and plans to eat them, of course; but the ten little mice outwit him, one by one (and we count backwards from ten as they do).
A page-turner and a counting book in a colorful package. Best for ages 2-4. (Voyager Bks.)
by Ellen Walsh
One of the best read-aloud books to teach preschool children about colors. Three peppy white mice jump into jars of yellow, red and blue mouse paint and then jump out again, creating puddles of paint. They then dance and splash their way through the pages of the book, mixing up colors and creating exciting new colors. Brightly colored illustrations and lively characters hold the children's attention beautifully. For ages 2-4.
Mr. Brown Can Moo Can You?
by Dr. Seuss
Random House for Young Readers
Oh the wonderful things Mr. Brown can do! And the amazing sounds he can make! He can make the sounds of a popping cork, a klopping horse, a goldfish kissing, thunder booming, eggs frying... An irresistable, repeat-after-me book that little ones relish!
My Family Plays Music
by Judy Cox
Holiday House Publishing
A delightful, award-winning book to introduce musical instruments and type of music to preschool children. Everyone in this rainbow of a family is a wonderful musician, and each one plays a different instrument and a different kind of music, making a rainbow of sounds. Bring along a few of the easy-to-carry smaller instruments and let the children help you read this one aloud! Ages 3-6.
My Friend Bear
by Jez Aborough
A warm, gentle story about loneliness, friendship and love. A lonely little boy with a teddy bear is walking through the woods when he spies a very large teddy bear. Soon an enormous real bear appears, and the frightened little boy holds out his teddy bear and pretends that it--not he-- is talking. But the enormous real bear is lonely too, and soon the boy, the bear (and their teddy bears) are laughing together and becoming friends. Preschool children love the thumb-sucking bear and the other wonderful illustrations! Ages 3-6.
My Little Sister Ate One Hare
by Bill Grossman
A goofy, laugh-out-loud book with a storyline on the order of that in the old song, "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" (and a mouse, cat, dog, etc.). This book will work best with the older pre-K crowd (older 4's -5's), who would best "get" the silly jokes and even sillier pictures.
My Truck Is Stuck!
by Kevin Lewis/Daniel Kirk
This is hilarious story with very funny pictures. A couple of dogs in baseball caps are driving a dump truck full of bones, and the truck gets stuck in a pothole. The doggy drivers flag down one vehicle after another to drag and draw and tug and tow, but alas---the truck stays stuck until a tow truck comes to the rescue. But in the meantime, some sneaky prairie dogs (who made the pothole in the first place!) run off with the cargo. A good laugh-aloud for 3-6's.
Oh, A-hunting We Will Go
by John Langstaff
It's the old folk song decorated with fun-filled pictures and featuring verses both old and new. (We doubt that the original involved hunting a dinosaur!) The book comes with guitar and piano music. The children might even add their own verses! Ages 3-6. (Aladdin)
Old Black Fly
by Jim Aylesworth
An unusual, very funny alphabet book for 3-6's. Family members chase a fly that zips through the house and through the alphabet as it wreaks havoc. The book also has energetic, colorful drawings and an attention-holding, strong rhythmic chant that children can repeat after the reader at the end of each rhyme. ("He ate on the crust of the Apply pie. He bothered the Baby and made her cry. Shoo fly! Shoo fly! Shooo.")
On Mother's Lap
by Ann Herbert Scott
Clarion Books (2000)
An updated, nicely illustrated story about expansiveness of love. In a cold, sparsely furnished space, a little boy gets his blanket and toys and climbs into his mother's lap. Then his baby sister cries, and to the boy's dismay, his mother wants to bring her to the rocking chair too. It's crowded but it's warm, and there is enough room for him after all. In fact, the boy discovers that it feels good! For 1-4 year olds.
On the Day You Were Born
by Deborah Frasier
A beautiful book with a message about the uniqueness of every child and the place of each of us in the universe. Captivating illustrations and a book that reinforces self-esteem. Ages 3-6. Harcourt Brace Pub.
Over in the Meadow (song story)
by Jane Cabrera
Holiday House Group (2000)
We love this paticular version of the popular song-poem, mainly because the illustrations, which look like finger painting, are so wonderful. This little counting poem is a delightful read-aloud or sing-along for preschool children. Ages 1-4.
by Marie Torres Cimarusti
A lift-the-flap book that is sure to be a read-aloud hit with 2-3 year-olds. Odd little animals play peek-a-boo with the children you read to. And when the children guess, for example, that it's a cow, they get to hear this text: "Peek-a-moo!" A mouse, when unflapped, says, "Peek-a-squeak!" etc. etc. They'll want to hear this one again! (Dutton Juvenile Bks.)
by Barney Salzman
A loving lift- the- flap, touch-and-feel book for children 1-3 years old. The illustrations are vivid and bright and the very young will love the textures of the animals under the flaps. At the end, the lift-the-flap reveals a mirror and ME!
Planting a Rainbow
by Lois Ehlert
The glorious book uses vivid colors to explain and show how seeds gradually grow into different plants, each with its own unique flower. Various types of seeds are planted with their names printed on typical garden markers. Then, over the seasons illustrated in the book, the plantsd grow and flower. This book a terrific way to teach a young child about how plants and flowers grow, each in its unique way. It is also a beautiful book for the 3-4's about colors, which appear one by one in fan-like pages of flowers. It is also an interesting book for the 4-5's, who will enjoy learning the names of common flowers. Harcourt Brace Pub.
Polar Bear Night
by Lauren Thompson
Scholastic. Beautifully illustrated, award-winner perfect for 3-6's.
Popcorn: A Frank Asch Bear Story
by Frank Asch
Price Stern Sloan (1990)
Little children love this book and want it read again and again. A bear invites all his friends to a Halloween party, and one by one they show up with a gift of popcorn! Soon, the the whole house fills up with popcorn. You won't go wrong with this favorite! Ages 3-6.
by Marcus Pfister
The celebrated story of a richly endowed, lonely fish, who learns that giving things to others brings happiness. Rainbow Fish has an abundance of sparkly scales, and the other fish have none. When a wise octopus suggests that his selfishness is to blame for his loneliness, Rainbow Fish changes his ways. Preschoolers love the sparkly scales and vivid illustrations. For ages 3-6.
Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp
by Carol Diggery Shields
As every kid knows, dinosaurs are really party animals, and these do all kinds of fun-filled dances (like the Triassic Twist). They even like to dance spike-to-spike! Colorful, entertaining and a fun-filled read-aloud. Wait until the kids accompany you by shouting, "Boomalacka boomalacka! Whack! Whack! WHACK!" Ages 4-6.
Shake My Sillies Out
This is a great book to read or sing aloud and get the wigglies and squirmies out of preschoolers! Vivacious illustrations and a lot of fun. Ages 1-4.
Sheep in a Jeep
by Nancy E. Shaw
This is one of those goofy, imaginative stories that delight preschoolers from 2-5. With its Seuss-like rhymes and its outrageously funny pictures, this is a book destined for long-term survival, even if you may question the survivability of the dumb sheep in the jeep. Dopey sheep in a jeep hit a patch of ice, and the adventure is all over the road from then on. "What happens next?" is the perfect question to ask as you read this book aloud.
Shoo Fly! (song story)
by Iza Trapani
An appealing song or story to sing or read aloud. The illustrations are captivating and the tale of the little struggle between a mouse and a fly is entertaining. Iza Trapani's many books are a delight for preschool children. Ages 1-4.
by Audrey Wood
Red Wagon Books
Unabashed rhyming, read-aloud silliness involving a silly girl who goes to town in a silly way --walking backwards, upside down. She's joined by a pig doing an upside down jig and other silly animals, but all of them eventually end right side up. For 3-6.
by Mem Fox
Another award-winning book to help every child go to sleep. A mother bear and her little ones snuggle in a big bed to go to sleep for the winter. The mother bear invents a simple, lovely, imaginative story in rhyme that appeals to the individuality of each of her cubs to help them go to sleep. There's a fairy tale rhyme for one little cub, a circus rhyme for another, an adventure rhyme for a third, and so on. Sweet dreams...especially on cold winter days. Ages 3-6. Harcourt Brace.
by Lois Ehlert
Harcourt Children's Books
In this great read-aloud book for a gloomy winter's day, we watch the construction of a snow family, including people and pets--all beautifully dressed up. The unique, detailed illustrations are bright and engaging, and there's an extra bonus: a popcorn ball recipe!
Snowmen at Night
by Caralyn Buehner
A child wonders why a snowman looks so droopy in the morning, and then gets the answer: the snowman was out playing all night--throwing snowballs, drinking cocoa, and generally cavorting with friends. No wonder he's such a mess! A 5-star read-aloud with lots of hidden pictures the children will enjoy. Ages 3-6.
Somewhere Today --A Book of Peace
by Shelley Moore Thomas
Albert Whitman & Co.
A simple, engaging book about caring, sharing, and friendship. Perfect for ages 3-5. Wonderful photography showing young children of all races and ages involved in helping other people, young and old. The book ends with the gentle suggestion that every child can do little things to help make the world a better place.
by Leo Lionni
Dragonfly Books (Knopf)
Swimmy is a little fish who is dark, while all the other little fish are light. In this appealing story, Swimmy solves a big problem--how to stop the big fish from eating the little fish. A natural leader, Swimmy gets the little fish to unite into a formation that makes them look like one gigantic fish. Then he places himself in the position of the eye of the gigantic' fish. United in this way, the little fish can survive. Cleverly conceived and very popular with 4-6 year olds.
Tacky the Penguin
by Helen Lester
(Houghton-Mifflin, publisher.) Tacky is not a proper, go-along penguin. He is considered just a little "off." But it's nutty Tacky who figures out how to fool the hunters who want to capture all of the penguins. The little lesson about the value of thinking for oneself is brightly illustrated and the characters are very expressive. Best for ages 4-6.
Ten, Nine, Eight
by Molly Bang
A Caldecott award-winning, beautifully illustrated book in which a liitle girl and her daddy have fun playing a rhyming game when it's the little one's bedtime. For ages 2-4.
That Toad is Mine
by Barbara Shook Hazen
Two boys, who are good friends, usually share everything. But when they happen onto a little toad, both of them really want it! What happens next is amusing and a good lesson about sharing. Colorful, exciting pictures will have the kids wanting to know what happens next.
Good for ages 3-6.
The Big Blue Spot
by Peter Holwitz
A big blue spot feels lonely and looks for a friend. In the process, the blue spot meets spots of many other colors. Simply written, with a "what happens next" plot, this is an excellent book about colors and about diversity too. Perfect for 2-5 year olds.
The Colors of Us
by Karen Katz
A wonderfully told, loving story about a little girl whose friends have skins the delicious colors of cinammon, ginger, chocolate, honey, pizza, peaches... A great book about the greatness of diversity. For 3-6's.
The Doorbell Rang
by Pat Hutchins
Two children plan to share a dozen cookies between them (6 apiece), but then the doorbell rings, and two more children come in (3 apiece now!). But that doorbell just keeps on ringing, and kids, cats, mops, kitchen stuff, bikes, and all sorts of clutter add to the fun! Oh no! Now there are more children than cookies! But wait, here comes grandma...
The Eensy Weensy Spider (song story)
by Mary Ann Hoberman
This gorgeously illustrated retelling is one that the youngest pre-schoolers will love. It's a feast for the eyes and you can read or sing it. It strays from the original song, but it does that in lovely ways. Great for babies-2 year olds.
The Foot Book
by Dr. Seuss
Opposites certainly attract in this funny classic about left, right, up, down, wet, dry and other feet. We read it to kids from 2-5, but it may work best for children who are older 3's and up.
The Grouchy Ladybug
by Eric Carle
A grouchy bug with a nasty disposition learns how to behave in this brightly illustrated book. It's best to get the hardback copy with die-cut pages to read to a group. A great teaching book, too. It's usable to talk about manners, to compare sizes and to discuss the concept of time.
by Julia Donaldson
MacMillan Children's Books.
A little mouse tries to keep a fox from eating him by inventing a story about meeting a gruffalo for lunch. Does the fox believe there is such a thing as a gruffalo? An funny, adventurous, wonderful read-aloud that kids love. Ages 3-6.
The Itsy Bitsy Spider
by Iza Trapani
A delightfully illustrated and conceived version of this little rhyme, which will work best with the youngest children (up to 3). This version will let you ask "What happens next?" Our little spider not only climbs up and gets washed out of the waterspout, but he then climbs unsuccessfully up a kitchen wall, into a yellow pail, and onto a rocking chair. Finally, he climbs a tree and succeeds in spinning a web. A happy ending and a good example of try-try-again for the littlest children.
The Kissing Hand
by Audrey Penn
Child & Family Press
A little racoon is afraid to go to school, because he thinks he'll be lonely without his mother. His wise mother kisses the palm of his hand (the Kissing Hand), and the little racoon feels her kiss travel up his arm and into his heart. She tells him that if he feels lonely without her, he will feel her kiss by pressing the Kissing Hand. In a touching climax, the little raccoon he gives his mother his own Kissing Hand, so that she won't be lonely without him either.
The Little Engine That Could
by Watty Piper
Grosset & Dunlap.
This classic story is forever new. Get the version with the original text and illustrations if you can. An engine is pulling a train up a mountain to deliver toys and treats to children on the other side. When the engine suddenly stops, the toys jump off to get help. They ask several big engines for help, but these engines refuse and steam away. Finally a little blue engine with a very big heart agrees to help, although he has never climbed a mountain before. It's very hard for him, but he tries and tries. And because he thinks he can, he succeeds! Best for 4-6 year olds.
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big, Hungry Bear
by Audrey and Don Wood
The full-page illustrations, sound effects and what-happens-next story will grab every child's attention. A frightened little mouse tries to keep a big, hungry bear from getting the red, ripe strawberry that the little mouse just picked. The big hungry bear can sniff the juicy strawberry a mile away, and he's coming. The little mouse despairs when he can't hide it or disguise it (in glasses and a moustache!). In the end, the mouse shares the strawberry with the reader--Thank goodness! And all we ever see of that menacing bear is his shadow on the back cover of the book. A favorite with 3-6's.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything
by Linda Williams
A great "scary"- silly story for October or any other time. The heroine is a fearless little old lady, who has to handle various articles of clothing and a pumpkin head that are chasing her. The text is funny; the rhythm is catchy; and the illustrations are engaging. For children 3-6.
The Mixed Up Chameleon
by Eric Carle
A chameleon is thrilled to learn that he can change his shape and color to conform to the different colors and shapes of many zoo animals. But
then he starts looking like like all of them at one time, and he learns that he also needs to reshape and recolor his ambitions too. Carle's distinctive illustrative style will hold everyone's attention, but this book would probably be best for older 3's -6's.
The Monster at the End of This Book
by Jon Stone
This funny page-turner features Grover of Sesame Street, who keeps imploring us NOT to turn the pages, because there's a monster at the end of the book. Of course, that makes the children want to turn the pages tosee that scary monster. Guess who is at the end of the book? It's only Grover, who tells us sheepishly, "Oh, I am so embarrassed!" thereby proving that the unknown can often be a lot scarier than the real thing...
The Napping House
by Audrey & Don Wood
Red Wagon Books
A great classic book to read after naps! This is a tale of relaxed people and animals, who climb into a bed one by one. They are planning to join Grandma and take a nap; but uh-oh! The last one into bed is a flea with other plans! Amusing illustrations lighten and brighten as this sleepy book wakes up.
The Old Woman & Her Pig
by Eric A. Kimmel
An updated folk story about an old woman trying to get her stubborn pig to come along. She enlists the help of a dog, a cat, a rat, etc. Children will love this rhythmic, cumulative read-aloud with its zany illustrations.
The Perfect Purple Feather
by Hannoch Piven
Megan Tingley Publishing
Unusual, quirky illustrations and an imaginative rhyming story make this a sure winner, especially for 4-6 year olds. A little boy finds a purple feather, and all sorts of oddly-made critters want it for all sorts of unusual purposes. (Example: a porcupine made of nails wants it, so he'll look softer and sweeter.)
The Pig in the Pond
by Martin Waddell
A dare-to-be-different tale, as well as a fun-filled book to read to preschool children. Although pigs don't swim, Neligan is awfully hot today. She decides that the ducks and geese have it right and jumps into the pond too. So do all the other farm animals and the farmer!
Silliness and something more... For ages 2-4.
The Right Number of Elephants
by Jeff Sheppard
An unusual, riotous counting book for children 3-5. The book counts backwards from 10 to 1 with quirky text and big, full-of-life color illustrations. The first two pages say, " If you suddenly need to pull a train out of a tunnel and save everyone on board, then the right number of elephants is (turn the page) ten." The picture on pages 2-3 shows water-squirting elephants careening past a train filled with laughing children.
The Snowy Day
by Ezra Keats
Viking Books/ Puffin Bks.
A 1963 Caldecott award-winner, this beautiful classic is the simple story of a little boy who wakes up and discovers the wonders of a snowy City day. Keats' collages are remarkable for their simple, calm beauty and artistry, which mirror the child's joy in making snow angels and enjoying the snow. Ages 3-6.
The Sun Is My Favorite Star
by Frank Asch
A little child tracks the journey of the sun through the day and relates to it both as a playmate (hide and seek) and as a big, warm, wonderful object of curiosity and wonder. Glorious illustrations make this a winner
for children 3-5.
The Teeny Tiny Woman
by Jane O'Connor
A clever, classic ghost story for preschoolers! A teeny-tiny woman on a teeny-tiny walk finds a teeny-tiny bone and takes it home to make a teeny-tiny pot of soup. that's when then the silliness and spookiness take over. An especially fun book to read to the children in October.
The Very Busy Spider
by Eric Carle
This lovely book features the weaving of a touchable spider web. The spider begins with a few silk strands and by theend of the book, she has created a complex work of art. Children will enjoy the tactile nature of this book and Eric Carle's usual vivid, expressive pictures. For children
from babies to 5's, but probably best for 3-5's,
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle
This is a wonderful, award-winning book, brightly illustrated, about a caterpillar who eats its way through the days of the week. If you read it to a big group, you should use a big version of this book, because its clever cut-outs would otherwise be difficult to see and manipulate. Best for ages 2-4.
The Wing on a Flea
by Ed Emberly
Little Brown (2001)
An enticing book about circles, rectangles and triangles and all the things they might be--both separately and in combination. "A circle could be a little green pea,/or eyes in the dark, if you'll just look and see." A lovely book for 2-4 year olds.
There's an Alligator under My Bed
by Mecer Mayer
Another in the series of delightful books about unusual critters in a chid's bedroom, this book is generally considered the best in the series. Yes, there is an alligator under the bed, but like the monster in the closet, what we imagine is far scarier than what is actually there. For 3-6's.
Very Hairy Harry
by Edward Koren
A funny book in which a barber tells hairy Harry all the advantages of being hairy. They include being able to hide your favorite things on your body, having your dog look like he's part of you, and being able to forego winter clothes. A few new vocabulary words won't dampen the
laugh-aloud story and pictures; but we suggest this one for older 4's-5's,
Waiting for Wings
by Lois Ehlert
Harcourt (hardback); Scholastic (softback)
Another amazing book by the author of "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom."
Breathtaking illustrations fill every page of this informative book about the life cycle of the butterfly. The text is a gentle, simple rhyme that almost echoes the gentleness of a butterfly. There are also facts about butterflies, including their names, which make this book interesting for older preschoolers too. Fine for ages 2-6.
Watch Out! Big Bro's Coming
by Jez Alborough
A funny-scary story that preschoolers adore. The jungle animals are terrified and hide, because they hear that Big Bro is coming! Little mice venture out and affirm the fact, which scares them even more! But oh boy! Aren't they all embarrased when Big Bro shows up! Even though he's just the older brother of the little mice, he still scares them with his shout of BOO! Big pages and big, bright illustrations ink make this book a great read-aloud. For ages 3-5
We're Different We're the Same
by Bobbi Kates
Random House. A very good book for 3-5's on the subject of diversity and self-esteem.
What! Cried Granny
by Kate Lum
A hysterical story about a little boy who makes up all kinds of zany excuses explaining why he can't go to bed yet--and his creative, nattily dressed grandmother, who goes to great lengths to give him no other excuse. Even though she chops down a tree to make him a bed and does other clever and super-human things to satisy his every stated need, the little boy manages to find enough excuses to last the whole night. Kids 3-6 will adore this very funny, very well-illustrated page-turner,
Where the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak
One of the best "scary-funny" books every written. Max makes mischief and gets sent to his room without supper. In his imagination, the room turns into an ocean on which he sails away to a forest filled with wild things. These critters are wild-looking and fierce, but they're also very funny-looking, and kids love it when they "gnash their terrible teeth." Max tames them and becomes their king, but he eventually decides to sail back home. He ends up back in his room, having gotten rid of all his mischief. There, he finds supper waiting. For ages 3-6.
by Eric Hill
This is a classic book about a dog that children love, and it's now been republished in birghter colors. Ages 2-4. (Puffin)
Where's the Baby?
by Cheryl Christian
A life-the-flap book with pictures of babies. A good read-aloud for 2 year-olds.
(Star Bright Books)
Who Said Meow?
by Maria Polushkin
Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?
by Bonnie Lass
Children love this famous who-done-it, and this version is delightful for children ages 2-5. You can read it aloud, along with the children, sing it with them and use it to play a circle game they'll love. (The melody and the game are printed at the front of the book.) The illustrations are colorful and can be used to teach the names of the various animals who may have taken the cookies.
Whoever You Are
by Mem Fox
A simple book with universal appeal, this book tells our youngest children that there are other children all over the world who may look and live differently, but who are all the same inside. The illustrations are as beautiful as the message. For children 2-6.
Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale
by Verna Aardema (retold)
A West African folk story about a mosquito, whose lies cause one strange thing after another to happen until finally, the sun itself stops rising. The forest animals confront the culprit and make things right again. Ever since that time, the mosquito asks people if they are still mad at her. That's the buzzing sound she makes in your ear! The artwork in this book is beautiful and captures the heat of a West African day and the velvety darkness of night. Little kids like pointing out a tiny pink bird that happens to be in every scene, and they love the silly sounds that the animals make. Best for ages 4-5.
(This list is adapted from ReadyReaders http://www.readyreaders-stlouis.com/books.php